28 January 2011

Butterfly art

Yesterday I went to Myer in search of a box frame for my Paper Tree Design butterfly art work kit. It was just my luck that they had 40 per cent off frames! I found a lovely white one, but before heading to the register found a range made in Australia from Australian materials for the same price. They didn't have white in the size I wanted, so I bought the red instead!

I got to work late afternoon, cutting my card to size and arranging the silhouettes. (I also pedantically drew a grid to ensure they were evenly spaced). Once they were glued down, I just had to wait a little while for them to dry before popping the wings out.

I found the perfect little wall for the frame, right between the office and bathroom.

27 January 2011

Apples and pears

Today I had to head into the city for a haircut (I'm still working from home until further notice). Afterwards, I went to Target and Myer to try and find a box frame for the butterfly art work kit I got for Christmas. Success!

As I was passing through Target, I saw an apple print mug out of the corner of my eye. I went over, and realised that it was only $1.87. Bargain! Even better was the fact that there wasn't just one style of apple mugs, but two! Even better than that was that there were pears as well! We don't need mugs at home. In fact, we have plenty. But I couldn't not have them considering the designs are so similar to the ones I printed at the Thea & Sami workshop last year.

As we don't need to drink coffee from them until we break every other mug in the place (I expect that to take at least ten years), they can sit pretty on top of the microwave accompanied by my nesting doll measuring cups.

26 January 2011

Office pinboard reworked

The other day I curated a new display for our office pinboard (after deciding back in November to make a regular habit of changing the display).

I've kept the Bespoke Letterpress initials from the previous display, but changed to a different gift card. I've also added a gift card from O-Check, postcards from Love and Peta Pledger, as well as a couple of postcards and a polaroid received from friends (thanks to Elissa for the polaroid!). There's also bits and pieces from Pigeonhole, Pinecone Camp and Anthropologie. The red ribbon is from Rivane Neuenschwander's I Wish your Wish installation at the Gallery of Modern Art. It reads 'I wish I could make a time portal'. Really, I do.

17 January 2011

Crafty folk raising money for the floods

Apologies for the lack of posting. Although we are completely untouched physically by the floods here in Nundah, I couldn't help but be glued to the TV for the last few days. We have plenty of friends in the affected areas, but to my knowledge no-one we are close to lost a lot (although, that may be because we simply don't know yet).

I left work at about 10.30 last Tuesday morning (to get home before transport was potentially halted), and I haven't been able to go back. We've been told that we'll likely be allowed back in on Wednesday, but that's not confirmed. I've had no access to my work email until late yesterday, so today and tomorrow I'll do what little I can to try and help out.

As we all know, there's been a huge amount of support being offered by so many in our community - not just in Brisbane, but elsewhere. John and I spent a couple of days cooking up a storm for Baked Relief, where snacks and meals are cooked for the hungry volunteers around the city. The lovely Kelley from Peppermint magazine was even lovely enough to collect a batch. More food will be needed in the coming weeks, so if you can spare a few hours to cook, please do.
A sample of my baked goods on day 2!
Image: Peppermint

The BrisStyle team has listed HEAPS of items on Etsy for their Handmade Ark Appeal, with all proceeds going to the flood appeal. There are a few similar Etsy groups happening too, such as the Australian Flood Appeal.

Make it Perfect has an auction of similarly crafty items, with all proceeds going to the appeal.

Jewellery-makers Epheriell Designs (until 20 January) and Polli (until 31 January) are donating 20 per cent of sales.

Little Shop of Handmade are donating 100 per cent (yes, 100 per cent!) of all internet sales from 20 December to 23 January. This is so amazingly generous, so I think I'll be doing some shopping!

If there are any more places deserving of a mention, please leave a comment and I'll add them to the list.

Please also don't forget the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal if you wish to donate directly. Also, the RSPCA do not receive any of the appeal funds collected, so are running their own fundraising campaign. They need to rebuild their entire Fairfield shelter (including the veterinary clinic), so please help if you can. Lifeline could also use some help, so they can assist with counselling those affected.

09 January 2011

Sewing experiment... and a new skirt!

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours experimenting, and made a skirt with no instructions. When we visited Coffs Harbour my nanna gave me a box of 39 weekly 'Make it Easy' patterns from the 1980s. Each week included patterns for a few items, such as a skirt, a top and a dress, in one envelope. I wanted to make a simple skirt to replace the one I've been wearing to death for 16 years - my mum made me one when I joined St John Ambulance when I was 12, and it still fits (although it's a little closer to dark grey than black these days!).

I found a simple-looking pencil skirt; however, when I went to cut my material I realised that there were no instructions included in the envelopes - they must have originally been accompanied by a weekly magazine with all the sewing details! Having made a few skirts already, I figured this wouldn't be a challenge at all - just do the darts first, and leave a space long enough for a zip. And here is the result! (The photos are terrible, but this rain means no venturing outside for nicer pictures.)

It all came together really quickly and easily. However, I encountered a problem when I tried to test the sizing after sewing in the zip - I couldn't get it over my hips. So, I put in a longer zip, and removed two of the darts in the back. It is now perfectly fitted - so perfect, in fact, that if I put on even a tiny bit of weight it will no longer fit! I must admit that I didn't bother taking the measurements - they were the same as listed for the other skirt pattern I've made, although I realise now that particular skirt is not fitted so the hip measurement didn't matter.

I wanted a waistband without stitching on the outside (like the one my mum had made), so I looked in the box of handy reference cards that came with the patterns to see if there were any tips. I found comprehensive instructions for making a perfect waistband, right down to slip-stitching it along the inside seam.

In terms of construction, this is by far the best quality item I've made. I'm really pleased with how it all came together, especially since I had no instructions to guide me. It's proven that I really HAVE learnt sewing skills, not just the ability to follow steps written for me.

Goals for 2011

Now that I've told you how I went with my 2010 goals, it's time to reveal what's on the list for this year. Most of my goals from last year could be done with piecemeal investments of my time (such as a few hours devoted to sewing or painting), due to the fact that I study in addition to working full-time. But, my studies are coming to an end in about nine months, so I'll be able to tackle some larger projects.

So, here's the list for 2011.

Goal number 1: Get stuck into my interior decorating course
I enrolled in a correspondence certificate in interior design and decoration when I was on long-service leave last year, but haven't really done much of it yet. This year I need to get some of those little assignments done!

Goal number 2: Fix up my sewing table and chair
Some may remember the ladder chair I bought from The Old Boathouse, and the old dresser I found on the side of the road with gorgeous silky oak drawers. I haven't made any advancements towards turning it into a sewing table as yet, but once my studies are out of the way I'll be getting stuck into it!

Goal number 3: Start screenprinting
Ever since I did my course with Thea & Sami, I've been itching to print something. But, the sad reality is that screenprinting takes a decent investment of time, so I've not venturing there until I have some more of that up my sleeve. Hopefully from October onwards I'll be playing around with some little designs of my own in the garage.

Goal number 4: Save save save for a trip to the US
In 2012, we are planning to visit the US! We'll be spending a couple of weeks in Los Angeles with a good friend of John's, followed by a couple of weeks in New York with Shilo! In between, we'll also be stopping off In Louisville so John can go to Wonderfest.

Goal number 5: Post more on my other blog
You may or may not have noticed that I now have a second (and somewhat neglected) blog focusing on all matters of politics. The content is largely drawn from my education over the years in cultural studies and Australian history. Hopefully once I finish my formal studies I'll have more time to write content specifically for the blog, which I'm looking forward to.

02 January 2011

Christmas presents!

Christmas this year was spent with John's family in Toowoomba, and unfortunately I spent Christmas eve with a stomach bug (which also meant I didn't really feel like indulging much on Christmas day). Nevertheless, we had a lovely time, despite the incessant rain.

After Christmas we made it to Coffs Harbour to visit my grandparents before many of the roads were cut (it's lucky we weren't going to visit my parents and sister in Bundaberg, as we wouldn't have made it!). In Coffs Harbour we had one full day of rain, and two full days of sun! We spent our time reading, walking on the beach, swimming (and getting a little sunburnt - oops) and visiting the Big Banana in order to eat frozen chocolate-and-nut-covered bananas.

Of course, with Christmas time also came present time! My family and friends sent some lovely and very thoughtful gifts my way, including a whole heap of books! Yay for Frankie Spaces!

In addition to the above, I also got Anh Do's The Happiest Refugee, which I read during the rainy periods in Coffs. I also got this super stylish Joseph Joseph colander, which will no doubt be used in conjunction with the recipe books. It hooks onto the side of the sink!

I also got myself some nice new jewellery items from Baba Ganoush, Limedrop and Polli.

These lovely trinkets were courtesy of some good friends - a plaster tree decoration cast from a seed pod from Kuber, an adorable jar of gift cards featuring deer and squirrels from O-Check, and a DIY butterfly art work kit from Paper Tree Design.

And, finally, I got this lovely watering can planter, which I'm going to put some tasty herbs in. There were a couple of World Vision Smiles charity cards inside the planter as well, which I was most grateful for.

So that's Christmas over! Over the coming days I'll be posting my 2011 goals, of which there are quite a few.

I hope that all of my Flying Ducks readers had a happy and safe Christmas and new year!